Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Denise VS Den

Okay, as most of you who read this blog have guessed, my name isn't actually Den. It's Denise.  My parents, bless their hearts (though I strongly suspect Mom had the most say when it came time to name me properly), were convinced that 'Denise' would suit me for all of my life.  As I've gotten older, this has become so far from the reality that I decided that I would change my name when I was ready to. 

The reason for the desire to change my name stems from being called "Dennis" all through my elementary years and well into middle school.  Every year, without fail, I would be called "Dennis" at least once by a teacher not familiar with my name.  I got picked on a lot for that.  Thankfully, it stopped when I hit high school, mostly due to the fact that my mom worked at the school I attended, so all the teachers knew my name's true pronunciation.  After high school, I went to college....  In English 101, the very first day of class, my professor was taking roll... And yet again, the curse returned.... But I had come prepared.  Moments after "Dennis" ******* was spoken out loud, I looked up, pushed my hood back (at the time, I was wearing an orange hoodie that made me look like a guy from most angles), and calmly said "It's Denise...."  The professor looked at me, looked down at her attendance sheet, looked back at me, and went "Oh... Oh! So it is...." and then I informed her of what I'd prefer to be called... "I prefer 'Den', actually..."

That'd prolly be where I'd say "And the rest is history" ... Except that it's not, really....

To my lawful family, and for all legal purposes, I am still "Denise".  I am still the awkward, inexperienced, oddball of a girl who is apparently destined to never fit in with the rest of the herd and to continue to be in my younger brother's shadow.

To the family I've made over the years (IE: My friends), I'm "Den".  I'm a bit rough around the edges, and quite possibly insane, but for the most part, I'm alright, and what my brother does has no merit on the friendships I've worked at maintaining.

I've come to realize something though.... as "Denise", I feel restricted, like I'm being deliberately held back, and like I will never be good enough in the eyes of my lawful family or in the eyes of some of the people from my past.  As "Den", I feel like the world is mine to shape any way I please, I am the one in control of my fate, and nobody will stand in my way.  Lately, "Denise" has been the one doing the most driving... I'd rather not let that part of me take control.... "Denise" needs to be buried, and looked upon as being the past.  "Den" needs to take charge more often.... I'm very much a work in progress.... I may take the scenic route to get where I'm going, but I'll get there in the end, and that's all that should really matter....

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